“I am a Presbyterian parent, and my child is gay.” This sentence might be the hardest to say out loud. It’s like telling the world that your son or daughter isn’t exactly who you had hoped for them to be. To some, it’s just unthinkable that their child could come out as gay- but I know better than anyone how difficult this life can be.
The first thing you notice when your kid comes out is fear- what will happen? How will our family handle this change? Will we still love him or her unconditionally? The second thing you feel is anger- because no one deserves to grow up feeling so alone and different from everyone else. But after all of these emotions pass, there’s something you realize- you love your child so much, no matter who they are or how they identify.
This wasn’t always where I was coming from though. When my son told me he was gay, I struggled so much with it all. The first few weeks after I found out were terrible, and it felt like the world had ended- but then I realized that this was my son, and I loved him. This wasn’t an easy thing for me to grasp at first, but once it sunk in, all of the fear and anger washed away- there he was, standing right in front of me.
My husband didn’t have any problems accepting our son being gay- he was always there for him, even if he didn’t understand the situation at first. He always supported our son being who he was, which I have to admit, I was pretty jealous of. It took some time though- my husband is straight, and didn’t understand what it would be like to have a gay child. Once he realized that our son would live a pretty normal life, he was completely fine with everything. He’s always been my biggest supporter, and the one I go to first whenever I have any questions about raising an LGBTQ+ child.
One thing that has helped me so much is being part of a support group for parents like us- they’ve given me some of the best advice I could ever ask for, and shared some of their own experiences with me. So many people don’t know how to react when they find out about an LGBTQ+ child, but these support groups are great because they’ve allowed us to talk amongst ourselves and learn from one another.
Another thing that has helped is joining a church that accepts everyone for who they are. Even though I’m in a Presbyterian church, I still feel accepted being LGBTQ+. Our pastor has been so helpful to us, even from the beginning of our son coming out. She welcomed him into her congregation with open arms and made sure she was there if we ever needed anything.
There’s really no need for any LGBTQ+ child or parent to feel alone in this world. There are so many people out there that care about and love them, and want them to know they’re still perfect the way they are. But everyone goes through their own unique experiences, and will handle it differently depending on how accepting their family is or what kind of church they go to. If you are ever struggling with something regarding your child being gay, there are so many resources out there for both of you to use together. There are support groups for parents, churches that accept everyone who walks through their doors, and more- all you have to do is reach out. Just know that if your child decides to come out, you are still their parent- nothing will ever change that. They might not be what you expected, but it’s okay because they’re still your child and always will be.